Category Archives: News

Eureka-winning physics & Science Week wrapup: physics in September

Congratulations to all the physicists whose hard work was recognised in the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes last week. Covering particle physics, nanocrystals, phase-change energy-storage and quantum science, the winners highlight some of the best work in Australian physics.

National Science Week ran last month and was terrifically succesful in getting physics into the public mind. In particular, thousands came to hear astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and astronaut Chris Hadfield speak, and 18,000 people helped classify over 200,000 galaxies. More detail on that below.

Professor Jodie Bradby from ANU continues the AIP’s annual Women in Physics Lecture Tour. Having visited Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, she still has Western Australia, Queensland and the ACT to go. More details below. Continue reading Eureka-winning physics & Science Week wrapup: physics in September

National Science Week: physics in August

National Science Week is upon us, beginning this Saturday and running until 23 August. The country’s annual celebration of all things scientific will be a festival of physics this year, most notably with visits from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, astronaut Chris Hadfield, multiple public events and this year’s national experiment: ‘Galaxy Explorer’. There’s more detail on these events later in this bulletin, and a complete listing on the National Science Week website.

The AIP’s annual Women in Physics Lecture Tour is now under way. The 2015 Lecturer, Associate Professor Jodie Bradby from ANU, has already visited Tasmania and Victoria, and next will speak in South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland and the ACT. For Jodie’s complete itinerary, see below. Continue reading National Science Week: physics in August

The Giant Magellan Telescope and rewarding our own physics stars: physics in July

The AIP welcomes the announcement, made last week, of 50 new ARC Future Fellowships. These provide crucial support for our very best mid-career researchers, who are key to the long-term health of Australian science. There’s more on the Fellowships later in this bulletin.

It was also wonderful to have the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) in Chile given the go-ahead by its 11 international partners, which include Australia – represented by the ANU and Astronomy Australia Limited. The GMT will be the world’s largest optical/infrared telescope, with ten times the resolving power of the Hubble Space Telescope. More on this from ANU astronomer Matthew Colless later in this bulletin.

And while on the topic of major international astronomy research facilities, it was great to see the leaders of the Murchison Widefield Array Project – the precursor to the low frequency component of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) – be awarded one of the 2015 Thomson Reuters Citation Awards, in recognition of their significant contribution made to an emerging research area. Continue reading The Giant Magellan Telescope and rewarding our own physics stars: physics in July

Synchrotron funding and the benefits of AIP membership: physics in June

As you’ll see later in this bulletin, this month we’re asking members and non members about AIP membership. What do you see as the leading benefits? What would make more physicists become members?

The AIP welcomes the Federal Government’s provision of funding to the Australian Synchrotron, announced in May’s Federal Budget. Within this bulletin we talk about the Synchrotron’s pivotal role in Australian research.

It was also good to see additional funding for ANSTO and a bit more funding certainty for national research infrastructure.

But overall there was not much for science in this budget and, as noted by Brian Schmidt, the uncertainty over the future funding of ARC Future Fellows has the potential to do long-term damage to science. Also, block grants for universities, which pay for the indirect costs related to research, were disappointingly cut by $263 million over the next three years. Continue reading Synchrotron funding and the benefits of AIP membership: physics in June

Celebrating physics: physics in May

We take a peek at some wonderful Australian physicists and their work in this bulletin, as well as congratulating several AIP Fellows and members whose work has been recognised.

I’d particularly like to congratulate Amanda Barnard (winning the Nobel of nanotech, the Feynman Prize), Claire-Elise Green (CSIRO Scholarship in Physics) and Michelle Simmons (Honorary Bragg Membership of RiAus).

I’m pleased to announce that this year’s AIP Women in Physics Lectureship has been awarded to Jodie Bradby from ANU. A/Prof Bradbury, who is a leader in nano-deformation research at ANU, will be delivering a national tour of physics lectures later this year. More details will follow in another newsletter. Continue reading Celebrating physics: physics in May

Science meets Parliament and the economists meet science: physics in April

There has been a lot of focus on science in the political sphere this month. As you will know, we heard the very good news that Australia’s national scientific research infrastructure fund (NCRIS) is now ‘safe’, at least for the next 12 months.

We had three AIP representatives at Parliament this week at the annual Science Meets Parliament, bringing researchers together with parliamentarians, policymakers and the media. Our three reps report on what was discussed later in this bulletin.

During last week, Australia’s Chief Scientist Ian Chubb released a study of the economic impact of the physical and mathematical sciences, coming to $145 billion per year from the physical sciences and maths. We look at the details later in this bulletin.I strongly encourage all AIP members to make this very positive message for physics—and more broadly the hard sciences—known as widely as possible.

This month I am very pleased to announce the name of our new early-career researcher (ECR) award—a new prize that recognises research excellence amongst physicists in the early stages of their career. It will be called the Ruby Payne-Scott ECR Award, after one of Australia’s most outstanding physicists. See more below. Continue reading Science meets Parliament and the economists meet science: physics in April

Prize nominations open for AIP awards and more: physics in March

Posted on behalf of Warrick Couch, President of the Australian Institute of Physics.

This is my first bulletin as AIP President, and I’m looking forward to carrying on in the spirit of my predecessor, Rob Robinson.

I’m an astronomer by trade, and especially interested in the evolution of galaxies. I’m the Director of the Australian Astronomical Observatory, and before that I was Director of the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University. A particular research highlight for me was being a member of the Supernova Cosmology Project, one of the two teams that discovered the universe’s accelerating expansion and whose leader, Saul Perlmutter, shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess (from the other team). Continue reading Prize nominations open for AIP awards and more: physics in March

Australia Day honours for science outreach and a change of president: physics in February

Posted on behalf of Rob Robinson, President of the Australian Institute of Physics.

The Australia Day Honours list again includes one of our own, with science communicator and AIP member Mike Gore being made Officer of the Order of Australia for his decades of work in public outreach and education. This recognises his roles in setting up the Questacon National Science Centre, the travelling Shell Questacon Science Circus and the Centre for Public Awareness of Science at ANU.

Last week saw the official launch of the International Year of Light in Paris. The AIP is proud to support the year’s Australian activities, which celebrate optics, astronomy and anything else involving light. You can read more below. Continue reading Australia Day honours for science outreach and a change of president: physics in February

Achievements in quantum tech & education, challenges for women & climate: stories from the physics congress

In this special mid-January bulletin, we present some stories from December’s AIP Congress in Canberra.

Among the personal highlights for me was the session on women in physics, where we learned about how, instead of improving gender diversity, Australia is going backwards in some areas. With so much more to be done, the AIP has revitalised its Women in Physics group with new members—you can read about them below.

I also had the honour of giving out the AIP prizes at the closing ceremony and the banquet, which was held in the National Gallery of Australia in the presence of Jackson Pollock’s “Blue Poles”—thankfully explained to us by an expert. Read on for more about the medal winners’ achievements with quantum lasers, nanotechnology and hands-on physics education. Continue reading Achievements in quantum tech & education, challenges for women & climate: stories from the physics congress

AIP Congress apps and awards galore: physics in December & January

It’s time to start packing your bags for the 2014 AIP Congress, which opens in Canberra on Sunday 7 December.

If you can’t come, you can follow us on Twitter at @aipc2014 or #aipc2014, or see our visiting speakers at public lectures and forums, including Nobel laureate Steven Chu’s televised address to the National Press Club (see the event listing below). There’s also still time to register.

The program includes some speakers and posters to close off the International Year of Crystallography, and many, many others fitting the theme of the coming International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies. And our Art of Physics theme has been taken up by both speakers and exhibitors. Continue reading AIP Congress apps and awards galore: physics in December & January